Kender at War

by Tavin Springfingers

War is a grim and depressing thing to take a part in. It always amounts to a large loss of life on all sides. As such it seems difficult to imagine the fun loving kender to be able to have any involvement in such a thing, but quite the opposite is true. The fact is, when united in war, kender can quickly become a force every bit as devastating as the Knights of Solomnia.

Kender War Tactics
With their incredible agility and speed, not to mention their short stature, kender excell at acts of espionage and guerilla warfare tactics. Often times, an army entering kender lands will lose almost half of its force before it ever manages to get within striking distance to a kender settlement. No army is as good at destroying enemy supplies and cutting off enemy supply lines as a race most well known for its proclivity at "appropriating" items out from under the owners nose. Also, the race well known for their ingenious ability at disarming and removing traps, kender are just as brilliant in the use of employing such traps against invaders. Pitfalls, poisoned arrow traps, falling boulders, and even iron toothed clamps generally used for hunting animals are all used with deadly precision by the diminutive race. Many a story has been passed on by the survivors of an invading army of times when the forces were lured into dead end only to be pelted from all sides by unseen kender assailants hidden in the trees or behind rocks or outcroppings in the terrain.

The Kender Militia
While such hit and run tactics are extremely effective, many times combat will be required in melee. If an invading army manages to enter into range of a kender settlement though, they are almost certain to find a surprise. While the hit and run tactics are being carried out, the remaining kender toil to construct large barricades of sharpened logs that encircle the settlement. They continue to do this as long as they can, usually forming three or four circles around the community before an enemy army gets close enough. Each inner circle is equipped with a single gate, which can only be opened from the inside. The outter circle, of course, has none. When the enemy advances, they find that the barracade makes horseback warriors practically useless, either for charging against kender or leaping over the barricade (which is too tall). Siege weapons (assuming any made it through early espionage attempts in still working order) are also practically useless, as they have not one, but three or four barricades to tear through. Even fire may break through one barricade, but then you still have the rest to contend with. The enemy isn't left alone to break down the barricades either. The spaces in between the barricades are filled with kender wielding hoopaks, short bows, crossbows, chapaks, battaks and many other weapons. As the enemy approaches, the kender assault the attackers through small openings in the barricade placed every four or five feet apart. Thus the kender can attack with impunity while the enemy has great difficulty attempting missile attacks through the small areas. Even when the enemy begins tearing down the barracade they are in trouble, for when this happens, the ranged fire moves from the openings to kender on makeshift ladders. The holes previously used for the ranged attacks are then replaced by hoopaks, spears and other such spearing weapons. When the enemy breaks through, the kender assault them at the opening with their weapons so that there are five or six kender against the one or two enemies that can fit through at a time. Once the enemy seems to have the upper hand, the kender scramble and head for the gate into the next barricade. They are then let in and the cycle repeats itself, the whole time kender from the inner barricades bombard enemies invading the outer baricades. With this in mind, it is quite obvious why few kender cities have ever been successfully invaded.

Kender Knights
In 1640PC, the kender of Hylo established a new warrior regime. In awe for a long time over the Knights of Solomnia, with all their shiny armor and bright weapons, a large group of kender took it upon themselves to form a kender knighthood. Calling themselves 'The Knights of Balif', the kender ran amok, wielding shortswords and spouting rules that sounded just and fair in imitation of the knights they so admired. Eventually, word was passed of these events to the Grand Master at the time, a strict man named Gregori uth Telan. Thinking that the kender were attempting to mock the knighthood with their ridiculous antics, the Grand Master sent an emmisary to Hylo to order the kender to cease and desist. The emissary returned withrather unexpected news. The kender had refused, and had instead, sent an invitation for the Grand Master and any knights with him to become honorary members of the Knights of Balif's most prestigious order, The Order of the Acorn. The Grand Master was infuriated by this and ordered an invasion of Hylo, heedless of his advisors recommendations against such action. The kender never even realised that they were being invaded when the knights marched on the city, believing the Solomnics had indeed come to be Knights of the Acorn. With incredible jubilation, the kender greeted the knights, swarming around the enemy camp and causing chaos in general. After three weeks of this "siege", the commander in charge of the invading force, a man by the name of Markus uth Wistan, held an audience with Hylos Elder's Council. Calmly, the knight explained that the Grand Master felt like the kender were making sport of the knighthood. While the council did not understand what was meant by mockery, they did realize that they had somehow managed to deeply hurt the Grand Masters feelings, and so the kender knighthood was disolved.* This did NOT mark the end of the knighthood however. In 349AC, a small province in Goodlund called Pouchstrap, the Elders Council met to form a new fighting regiment to oppose the now invading Dragonarmies. Under the council of Delnik Springfingers, the Council revived the old knighthood of kender. Wary of the situation and keeping in mind the circumstanes and occurances of the last time the knighthood was introduced, the council worked to make the Knights of Balif more versatile and more non offensive. Thus were born the Kender of Hylo. Although many kender joined the Kender of Hylo, the orders recreation was too late to help stop the dragonarmies invasion of the kender nations. Instead, the knighthood attacked the occupying forces with impunity. The downfall of Toedes forces in Kendermore is credited to not only death of the highlord, but also the definate presence of the Kender of Hylo.

How the Knighthood Works
The knighthood itself has but one rule: To always work for good. The knighthood teaches the vow amongst its members, the kender phrase ' Ek'thik allus mot durnat' which means 'Goodness is best'. Each and every knight works wholly towards this end, but in different ways, depending on the order to which they belong.

Kender of the Pouch - The members of this order, like their namesake, are those who hold many things. They are the lowest rung of the knighthood and their involvement is minimal, but they are by far the most numerous. They act as information gatherers, fund raisers, as providers of safety, and in times of need, an extra hoopak in battle. They tend to be kender who have already settled down in a community, as this type of work is ill suited to a kender struck with wanderlust. When a Kender of Hylo arrives at a city, he will likely 'dip into a pouch or two' to see what he can find in the way of information and hospitality.

Kender of the Sparrow - Like the bird, this knighthood wanders freely, with mirth and cheer. These knights are often kender just struck with wanderlust, out adventuring and wandering in search of whatever is interesting. A kender of this order not only gathers information, but is a general good deed doer. He lives to right wrongs wherever he may find them, and thus usually getting into no end of trouble. Some kender joke that like the sparrow, this order must quite frequently take flight. Regardless, Kender of the Sparrow are by far the strongest of their race, and there is no denying that their ability to use weapons effectively is unrivaled by any of their race.

Kender of the Hoopak - The highest order among the Kender of Hylo, the Kender of the Hoopak dedicate their lives to the furthering of good. These kender are like the hoopak: straight and tall, supple and strong. These kender are often on the Elders Council in their region, the leaders of the community. Kender of the Hoopak are often chosen to represent the kender as ambassadors to other nations, as emissaries and delegates. Also amongst their ranks are those few kender who will never lose the tinge of Wanderlust. Those who will continue to wander until their dying days. Those who have gained much respect from other races. This final order is the defining power of the knighthood, the members well known for their cunning and wit, for their intelligence and their way with words.

Kender Knighthood Now
After the War of the Lance, the knighthood swelled with applicants. Then, after a few years, things settled down. Suddenly, the Second Cataclysm struck. The Knights were called to battle and although suffering heavy losses, they fought bravely against the forces of Chaos. After Chaos's defeat but before the knights could recover, another disaster struck. Malystryx the Red, a Great Dragon from some unknown place, obliterated Kendermore and the surrounding area. Taking it for herself. Now, with only one kender nation, The Kender of Hylo are back at their knighthoods namesake. The roster continues to grow larger as more and more kender wish to do their all to protect their familieis, their bretheren, and themselves from whatever may happen. More and more are seen the emroidered patch of the hoopak, the happily adorned sparrow feather decorations, and the telltale purple velvet pouch... the insignias of the three orders that are bound and determined to make a difference!

This article written by Tavin Springfingers

*- The previous paragraph is paraphrased from information found in Book One of 'Heroes of Defiance


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